Saturday, August 21, 2010

we've got to stop and take some time to eat the apples

As Joshua has begun crawling and then walking he's naturally after everything of Julianna's that he can get his chubby little hands on.  She of course, is less than thrilled with his developing interest in her stuff.  She has learned to keep her prized possessions of the day on top of the mantel, the TV, the bookshelf, whatever is too high for him to climb at this point.  But for the most part throughout the day she stays frustrated beyond what she's accustomed to.

The conflict between the two of them has created new problems for me to deal with as a mother of two and I had no idea I would encounter this amount of sibling competition so early.  As I put Joshua down for a nap Julianna barges in and wakes him up, as I try to prepare dinner I hear the two of them scream violently from the other room as he grabs at her markers and paper, and as I see him grab something tiny off the floor and push it towards his mouth I see her rush over to him and grab it while shoving him out of the way.

I don't blame him.  He's learning.  He's exploring his world.  He adores his big sister and all that she can show him, teach him, give him.  There is no one more exciting for him to watch, no one's voice he is more eager to hear.  Of course he is going to want to be everywhere that she is.  Of course he is going to want to play with the things she gets to play with.

I don't blame her.  She's told "no" for something or other at every turn.  She gets very little individual attention and she is constantly reminded to be quiet, wait until her brother wakes up, and not right now.  Of course she is going to seek attention in less-than-ideal ways.  Of course she is not going to be happy with having to share toys with someone that she's never had to share with before.

Anyway, I have never before considered myself a screamer.  And I hate to admit this, but it's reality.  As Julianna has become increasingly difficult to get to follow directions and as I try to get her to make better choices around her brother I often find myself screaming at her just to get her attention.  It's like she doesn't hear me until I raise my voice.  Then I find my self apologizing more and more often to her each night for yelling at her earlier that day.  I try to explain to her that I just want her to do the right thing and that if she would make better choices then I would yell less.

I found myself reserving a copy of Screamfree Parenting to pick up at the library.  I certainly haven't read enough of it yet to really make a difference in how I control myself around my kids so I can't say at all that it will influence how I act.  However, as I read it I already feel like I'm becoming more aware of my own choices in interacting with my kids and hopefully that will make it easier to make better decisions.  One quote from the beginning of the book keeps going through my head. 

"Parents can tell but never teach, unless they practice what they preach." - Arnold H. Glasgow, psychologist

Julianna and I read a library book the other day about a little girl named Halloweena (what you don't read Halloween books in August?).  In it there's a picture of some kids bobbing for apples and Julianna didn't understand what they were doing.  Even after explaining it to her she still couldn't grasp the concept.  I happened to have bought a bag of apples the day before at Wal-mart.  We got it out, filled a huge bowl with water, and took turns bobbing for apples.  I think she understands now.

Ten minutes later when she was watching an episode of The Backyardigans on Netflix streaming through the Wii, her brother accidentally knocked something onto the power strip and her show went off.  She suddenly began screaming, "Mama, get my movie back on now!"  You could look at her face and see the recognition come across it before I even had a chance to react.  It was not like someone flipping on the light switch but more like someone turning the dimmer switch to slowly brighten the room.  In the middle of her sentence-command her voice lowered and she changed her tune to, "Mama, will you turn my movie back on please?"

Suddenly I know we'll get there.  I don't know when, but I know we will and now I know we'll do it together.

Parenting is hard, y'all!


Whitney said...

The first step is always recognizing your mistakes and you are very self-aware. You are a wonderful mom and they are lucky to have you!

Renee said...

I can totally empathize. I find myself raising my voice way more than I have my entire life and I hate it. I know when I'm doing it I need to stop but somehow, in the moment, I just can't. I am a big believer in practice what you preach and this made me stop and think that I really need to take that to heart and stop in the middle and readjust. This brought a tear to my eye.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Follow this blog with bloglovin

Follow on Bloglovin